From head to toe your little one will still be around 50cm in length, and approximately 3kg in weight. This week your baby’s immune system continues to advance, as your body continues to pass antibodies through the umbilical cord to your baby, giving him or her a head start in life and helping them to protect their own bodies from disease and illness when they enter the outside world. After birth, you will continue to provide your baby with these antibodies through your breast milk.
Although considered mature at week thirty seven, your baby is still thought of as ‘early term’, and is still stockpiling weight, little by little, every day. This week your baby’s senses become more refined, so much so that you may find your baby turns his or her head towards you when you speak, because they recognize your voice. Your baby’s fingers will also have become more nimble, and your little one will be able to grab things, including your finger, after birth.
The baby usually drops two to four weeks before pregnancy and so will do so this week if he or she hasn’t already, this involves your baby moving further down in your uterus towards the cervix, relieving pressure on your diaphragm, but increasing pressure on your bladder as the baby uses it as his or her pillow! This will cause symptoms not so different to your first trimester, the frequent need to urinate! This shift in your uterus may render you feeling clumsy and uncoordinated as your center of gravity has once again been significantly altered!
Try to keep an eye on the movements of your cervix over the next few days (weeks if you give birth later), to check for symptoms of going into labor, such as your cervix dilating, although this is a misleading sign of labor as some women start to dilate weeks before going into labor, while other women show no sign of dilating until they are actually about to give birth! Losing the mucus plug is a sign that labor is on its way however it could still take a couple of weeks. The biggest indicator of going into labor will be the contractions, and how strong and frequent they are.
Despite feeling excruciatingly eager to meet your little one, it is important not to get ahead of yourself and to be patient. If born now your baby would be considered ‘early term’, which means that doctors do not recommend trying to induce labor or having a caesarean just yet! For the health of your baby try to hold back on those last couple of weeks, before trying any natural methods of inducing labor such as eating spicy food or acupuncture.
If you have any symptoms that concern you it is important to consult your doctor as soon as you can.